by Regina Dessausure
Activity Director
Southern Hills Nursing and Rehabilitation

Importance of Activities

activitiesActivities are an integral part of life. They fill our days and provide us with a sense of purpose and bolster our self-esteem. This is as true for persons with   memory loss as it is for you and I.

However, with memory loss individuals often experience a lack of concentration and confusion. This makes it difficult to initiate and carry out activities.  Often a person experiencing memory loss will be unable to think of an activity or realize that they are bored. In order for activities to be successful it is important know the basic of what an activity is, where and when an activity can take place, and how to go about planning an activity.

Activities can be defined as a task that makes up our day.  Activities always are thought of as only leisure based, like music and exercise, but should also include more mundane and necessary task like bathing and cleaning. Activities are those elements of our days that have purpose.

Activities can take place at variety of times throughout the day. Activities can be incorporated into part of a daily routine or added into that instance where not much is going on. Flexibility in timing of activities can be helpful.

Activities and Memory Loss

In order maintain or introduce activities within the life of the person with memory loss, planning is important. The individual will need more support to complete or continue an activity. It is important to choose activities that are enjoyable for individual, ones that they can participate in without frustration. Breaking down the activity into small manageable step is always helpful. Monitoring progress and intervening as needed can also to ensure success.

Especially in the early stages, of the disease, intervention should be the least intrusive possible, helping with only the portion of the activity that the individual is having trouble with as opposed to taking over a completing the activity for them.

Individual experiencing memory loss often loses initiative, the ability to start and continue activities. Often with memory loss person will need not only to be set up with an activity but will need prompts to continue to stay on task. If prompting is no longer effective it might be helpful to have optional activities that complement the individual rhythm, changing to topics or activities as they do. In addition, familiar activities that allowed the individual to feel successful will become more difficult to continue independently. Person will need more support to participate in these and would benefit from finding other activities to replace those that are no longer beneficial.